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Justice (25-42)

BCFNJC Releases Framework for Action: Indigenous Women’s Justice Plan Upholds the Calls for Justice

April 8, 2024

NationTalk: Vancouver, BC  – Unceded & Ancestral Territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations – Today the BC First Nations Justice Council (BCFNJC) is proud to release the Final Draft of the Indigenous Women’s Justice Plan at the 3rd Annual First Nations Justice Forum in Vancouver. The Justice Forum brings together a network of First Nations leaders, Indigenous delegates, and justice partners across BC who will play a powerful role in advancing the Indigenous Women’s Justice Plan through discussion and action-oriented engagement.

For decades Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIA+ (2S+) people have had to grapple with the destructive impacts of colonization – time and time again their lives have been deemed less worthy of respect, compassion, and the pursuit of justice. Indigenous women currently account for 50% of the total federal inmate population, while only representing 4% of women in Canada. BCFNJC calls for an end to the injustices that have left Indigenous women severely overrepresented in the justice system and an end to the systemic violence that is unfolding through the ongoing genocide of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG2S+).

Through Strategy 11 of the BC First Nations Justice Strategy, BCFNJC was called to work directly with Indigenous women, girls, 2S+, First Nations, and Indigenous groups across BC to develop an Indigenous Women’s Justice Plan (IWJP) that centers the safety, wellbeing, and dignity of Indigenous women, girls, and 2S+people and supports better outcomes for them across all areas of the justice system.  Building off key reports and recommendations, including the MMIWG2S+ Inquiry Calls for Justice, the Red Women Rising Report, and the Highway of Tears Symposium Report, BCFNJC’s Team embarked on a powerful journey of engagement, connection, and truth-telling to develop the IWJP.

Throughout the fall of 2023, BCFNJC held seventeen engagements in different communities throughout BC, including virtual sessions that were tailored to the specific needs of 2S+ and those with disabilities. A Guiding Draft of the IWJP was shared with these communities and used to inform and direct the engagement. The feedback and insights from these community engagement sessions were then integrated into the IWJP: Final Draft (Final Draft).

Created by and for Indigenous women, girls, and 2S+ people, the Final Draft reflects the needs and voices of Indigenous women, girls, 2S+, relations, and communities who participated in the engagements, as well as those who put their voices and hearts forward through other means. As the IWJP is intended to be an evolving, living document that is attune to the unique needs and priorities of Indigenous communities, the Final Draft is a critical iteration of the plan that will set the direction of the work going forward. The Final Draft is being presented today at the 3rd Annual First Nations Justice Forum for additional engagement and feedback from First Nations leaders, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Indigenous justice organizations, and other collaborators.

The development of the IWJP is guided by the fundamental understanding that Indigenous women, girls, 2S+ people hold sacred roles in their communities as Matriarchs, Knowledge Keepers, healers, teachers, artists, and storytellers. They are the pillars of the communities, and their safety and wellbeing are at the foundations of true justice and reconciliation. The IWJP is not intended to claim a novel approach or impose new guidance. Rather, it recognizes that communities and Indigenous women have the answers and solutions already. The IWJP is meant to support their self-determined pathways to justice and make their solutions and demands a reality.

Recognizing that the IWJP’s implementation requires the full support, participation, and funding of government, BCFNJC is excited to begin engagement and planning with federal and provincial government partners, across all ministries, once the feedback and insights from Justice Forum participants are integrated into the Final Draft. The Final Draft is formatted to include an accessible version first that centers and brings the voices of Indigenous women, girls, and 2S+ people to the forefront. A Proposed Collaborative Action Plan is included in the appendices as a tool for working with government partners to create change and start the implementation process of the IWJP. BCFNJC will work with partners, including provincial and federal governments, to develop clear pathways and decision processes to fulfil the objectives of the IWJP and support the sacred work of empowering and keeping Indigenous women, girls and 2S+ people safe.

Please download the Final Draft of the Indigenous Women’s Justice Plan here:


Kory Wilson, BCFNJC Chair

“Indigenous women today are still at the margins of society and at the negative end of Canada’s socio-economic indicators. We cannot keep talking about this. It is time to act; time to implement. We need to transform the justice system so that my three daughters are not more likely to be incarcerated, or worse, because they are Indigenous. The Indigenous Women’s Justice Plan is the pathway to this transformation.”

Lydia Hwitsum, BCFNJC Council Member

“The Indigenous Women’s Justice Plan (IWJP) is a comprehensive, Indigenous-led response to the rampant violence and discrimination that is continuing to harm our Indigenous women, girls, and 2S+ people. For too long have their demands for justice gone unanswered and for too long have their recommendations sat gathering dust. The IWJP addresses this, ensuring that government partners and justice collaborators actively work with BCFNJC to respond to their needs and follow collaborative pathways of action and decision-making.”

Viola Thomas,

“Time after time, our women, girls, and 2S+ people are talked about as mere numbers and figures, reduced to tragic statistics or headlines. They are so much more than that. It is a shameful and a gross miscarriage of justice that they continue to face so many obstacles and challenges– their lives stolen or harmed by the violence and cultural genocide that is part of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG2S+). The time has come for the dehumanization of our women, girls, and 2S+ people to end. Resilient and respected for their strength and wisdom, they will be the ones leading the work of the Indigenous Women’s Justice Plan and to whom government is accountable.”

Dr. Gwendolyn Point,

“I look to our government partners and say, we know you’ve seen our protests; we know you’ve heard our voices. Now, with this plan, we give you tangible lines of action that will make meaningful change and keep our Indigenous women, girls, and 2S+ people safe. A key part of this work will be education. The Indigenous Women’s Justice Plan includes educational initiatives and programs to ensure government, policing, and justice partners are educated about their roles in ending colonial violence and restoring justice for Indigenous women, girls and 2S+ people.”

About the BCFNJC

The BC First Nations Justice Council has been entrusted with the mandate to transform the justice system and create better outcomes for Indigenous people through implementation of the BC First Nations Justice Strategy.

The strategy, signed March 06, 2020, was jointly developed by the BC First Nations Justice Council, BC First Nations communities and the Province of British Columbia. It includes 43 actions along two paths which involve the reformation of the current system as well as the restoration of First Nations’ legal traditions and structures.

SOURCE BC First Nations Justice Council

For further information:

Media Contact: BC First Nations Justice Council,
Trevor Pancoust,,